NFL, Pascal's Shift, GOP Divide, & Remembering Will Buckley
This article was written by Ricardo Huerta. Check out his bio.
1. Over at The Atlantic Alex Putterman has put together a piece on the sorry state of the NFL. Ravaged by more problems than whether players kneel or stand during the national anthem, the NFL as an American cultural icon is seeing a decline. What are we to make of this?
If plummeting TV ratings and dying interest are an indicator of anything it’s that Americans would prefer not to see their sport politicized. For many a fan, football (and sports in general) serves a very practical (therapeutic?) purpose: it distracts us from the world off the gridiron giving us the needed time to simply shutdown. As a dedicated fan, I can relate to the mindless necessity that football serves. Don’t get me wrong; I love the stories that come with the game. This year it’s the over performing Jaguars and Rams, two teams that have no business being in the positions they are. Or Case Keenum, the formerly unknown veteran quarterback who has made a name for himself playing for his hometown Minnesota Vikings. But these stories haven’t been the face of this NFL season. Instead, fans have been forced to turn on their political minds when all they wanted to do was watch a football game. Putterman’s article raises more questions for me than it answers; should football be apolitical? Should anything of cultural significance be devoid of politics? I’m not sure, but starting with Colin Kapernick and the wave of players who have knelt in protest during the national anthem, America’s sacred cow has been employed for a higher cause.
2. This weeks long read is some philosophy for the curious of mind (and heart!). The Federalist posted a fantastic essay by Midge Fusselmann on French polymath Blaise Pascal’s “conversion of the mind to a conversion of the heart.” Drawing on Pascal’s account of a vision of fire that would lead him to write in his account of the event, “From about half past ten at night until about half past midnight, FIRE. GOD of Abraham, GOD of Isaac, GOD of Jacob not of the philosophers and of the learned,” Fusselamann takes us through Pascal’s shift from mathematics and science (projects of reason) to a language of the heart that exists prior to reason. All in all, this is a fascinating article that raises philosophical questions on the nature of knowing.
3. Over at the New Yorker Charles Bethea has come out with a great piece on the divide between young Alabama Republicans and their elders on accused sex-offender running for office, Roy Moore. Sharing the story of two college friends who are navigating the debacle that is the Alabama senate race, Bethea makes it clear: older Republicans are willing to stomach more when heading to the voting booth than the up and coming generation of conservatives. I mention this not to denigrate the older generation of Republican voters, but rather to point out the generational divide within the GOP. The younger generation of Republicans are proving to be less doctrinaire than their elders, a move that will pay off in future elections. And this is where the GOP as a whole needs to learn from its youngest members; young Republicans represent a modernizing shift much like the one that took place in the UK Conservative party when David Cameron was elected prime minister. The GOP must soften its blow, and by this I don’t mean conceding on issues like abortion, tax cuts, or limited government, but rather distancing itself from controversial figures like Roy Moore, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and instead choosing to stick with the values it holds most dear. For me, the Republicans represent the only viable option in our country for carrying out the principles of conservatism, i.e. limited government, localism, the family at the center of politics, abortion, tax cuts. But like many other young conservatives, I am not afraid to turn my back on the Republican Party.
4. On this day in 1925, William F. Buckley came into the world. Little did his parents know, Buckley would go on to be nothing short of a prophet for modern day conservative movement. Buckley’s wit, intellect, and debate skills would keep his show Firing Line on air for over 30 years and keep his magazine The National Review in print to this day. Check out these series of photos of Buckley over at the National Review.
5. In conclusion, America’s finest news source The Onion with a hilarious piece on the madness that is Black Friday. Stay classy shoppers and try not to trample anyone.